Best Treatment for Dandruff: Zinc Pyrithione Shampoos

best treatment for dandruff

Dandruff is a common scalp condition involving abnormal scalp flaking. Half of the adult human population have dandruff at some time in their lives. Flaking is the most visible sign of dandruff and one may see them on one’s hair and shoulders. While it might be the most visible sign, it’s not always the first. Itching is often the first symptom to show itself. It can act as a warning sign before flakes start to appear. Dryness and redness can also appear early too, making one’s scalp feel tight. In this article, learn about the best treatment for dandruff.

Best treatment for dandruff

Treatment for dandruff ranges from over-the-counter shampoos to dermatologist-prescribed creams. But almost all of these products have an ingredient in common, zinc pyrithione. Zinc pyrithione is safe for all hair types. The ingredient is the most beneficial for those who are experiencing dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis, or other scalp conditions that may aggravate with overgrowth of fungus.

What Is Zinc Pyrithione?

Zinc pyrithione is a complex of zinc and pyrithione. It is commonly found in dandruff treatments due to its antifungal, antimicrobial, and antibacterial properties. Thereby reducing the amount of fungus which can trigger inflammation and scaling, which may be seen clinically as dandruff.  It can also provide other benefits to your face and help treat scalp psoriasis, pityrosporum folliculitis (fungal acne) and a condition due to yeast on the skin known as tinea versicolor.

Benefits of Zinc Pyrithione for Hair

Promote hair growth and improve overall scalp health

Since a number of thinning hair and hair loss concerns are related to the scalp, zinc pyrithione can help clear dead skin cells or product build up that prevent hair growth and thus promote fuller, healthier hair. Furthermore, this ingredient can help treat dandruff, scalp psoriasis or seborrheic dermatitis and kill bacteria that cause itching and flaking. Dandruff damages your scalp, hence if one suffers from dandruff, one’s hair is likely to be less healthy as it grows from an unhealthy foundation. Using an anti-dandruff shampoo regularly helps restore one’s scalp’s health and gives one’s hair the best possible start as it grows.

By helping to treat the scalp and improving overall scalp health, zinc pyrithione can therefore help promote hair regrowth as seen in a study that showed that daily use of 1 percent pyrithione zinc shampoo over 26 weeks showed an improvement in hair growth. Zinc also helps prevent bacteria on the scalp, preventing any potential odor.

Fights dandruff-causing fungus

In general, dandruff is due to three etiological factors, Malassezia spp, sebaceous secretions, and individual susceptibility. Among these, dandruff is often due to the overgrowth of a yeast called Malassezia spp. This idea is supported by improvement in dandruff as well as a reduction in the number of the yeast cells on the scalp, following treatment with a shampoo containing an antifungal agent. 

Malassezia globosa feeds on natural scalp oils called sebum,  the oil that keeps your hair and scalp moisturized. As the sebum is broken down, it produces a by-product called oleic acid, where 1 in 2 people are sensitive to oleic acid and the scalp responds by becoming irritated. In response to the irritation, the scalp starts to become inflamed, red and itchy and the body signals to the brain to shed skin cells faster than usual – essentially, an attempt to shed the irritant. This shedding of skin is what causes visible flakes to appear on the scalp, often falling off onto one’s shoulders.

Anti-dandruff shampoos rely on antifungal active ingredients, such as zinc pyrithione, that can inhibit fungal growth through increased cellular levels of copper, damaging iron–sulphur clusters of proteins essential for fungal metabolism and growth. Furthermore, zinc pyrithione reduces an enzyme called lipase that breaks down fats into smaller molecules of fatty acids. As yeast feeds on fatty acids, reducing lipase levels helps to reduce the yeast population. Therefore zinc pyrithione is able to inhibit the overproduction of yeast cells, stopping dandruff at its source. Research done also shows that zinc pyrithione medicated shampoo is a safe and effective way to treat dandruff. Additionally, due to low solubility, zinc pyrithione released from the topical formulations is deposited and retained relatively well onto the target skin surfaces. 

Prevents itching

Dandruff is one of the leading causes of scalp itchiness. Itching on your head with what seems like no end in sight can be exhausting and negatively affect one’s quality of life, especially when one is not sure how to get to the bottom of it. By preventing dandruff and eliminating the irritating yeast that causes it, zinc pyrithione helps to provide itch relief quickly.

Improves overall appearance of hair

The overall appearance of the hair is significantly influenced by the oiliness of the scalp and the thickness of the hair. By regulating oil production, encouraging hair regrowth and controlling the dandruff often found in those with seborrheic dermatitis, zinc pyrithione is able to enhance the overall appearance of the hair. 

The Deep Cleanse Shampoo is formulated for hair loss and sensitive scalps for the best haircare treatment, containing Zinc pyrithione for anti-dandruff action, and copper peptide for healthy hair regrowth.

best treatment for dandruff

The Deep Cleanse™ Shampoo is dermatologist-formulated for hair loss and sensitive scalps. It rebalances the scalp microbiome to minimise dandruff flares and maintain healthy scalp bacterial and yeast flora. 


Trüeb RM, Henry JP, Davis MG, Schwartz JR. Scalp Condition Impacts Hair Growth and Retention via Oxidative Stress. Int J Trichology. 2018;10(6):262-270. doi:10.4103/ijt.ijt_57_18

Schmidt-Rose T, Braren S, Fölster H, et al. Efficacy of a piroctone olamine/climbazol shampoo in comparison with a zinc pyrithione shampoo in subjects with moderate to severe dandruff. Int J Cosmet Sci. 2011;33(3):276-282. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2494.2010.00623.x
Reeder NL, Xu J, Youngquist RS, Schwartz JR, Rust RC, Saunders CW. The antifungal mechanism of action of zinc pyrithione. Br J Dermatol. 2011;165 Suppl 2:9-12. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2133.2011.10571.x

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